Consultation process on a new action plan for apprenticeship launched

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THE LAUNCH of the consultation process to help develop a new action plan for apprenticeship has been announced which “will help place apprenticeships at the heart of enterprise and education in this country”.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD and Minister of State for Further Education and Skills Niall Collins TD have announced the launch of the consultation process to help develop a new action plan for apprenticeship.

The number of people registering for an apprenticeship has risen from 3,153 in 2015 to 6,177 in 2019.

However, just 2.7 per cent self-declared as having a disability and 4 per cent of the apprentice population was female.

Minister Simon Harris said apprenticeship is “apprenticeship is a joint effort between employers and employees” which give the apprentice an opportunity to “earn and learn from the employer”.

He said, “Last week, I announced a new recruitment incentive for employers where they can earn €3,000 for each apprentice they take on.

“We know our apprenticeship model needs to be revised and this consultation is the beginning of that process. We also know we need to expand the model and change people’s mind set of what an apprentice is and is not.

“The apprentice model is no longer confined to craft trades. It has expanded to the financial services sector, to ICT and accounting.

“Now we must look to expand it to where skillsets are most needed including in the area of childcare and the health service and crucially where it may be needed in the future.

“This consultation process will be crucial to the success of the new plan and the future of our apprenticeship system and I encourage people to have their say.”

Building on actions set out in the Programme for Government and the Further Education and Training Strategy, which was launched in July, the Action Plan for Apprenticeship will set out a five-year pathway to embed apprenticeship in enterprise and will provide a comprehensive set of actions designed to increase the diversity of learners who chose apprenticeship programmes.

Speaking today, Minister Collins said: “Apprenticeship has changed radically over the past five years.  There are now 55 apprenticeship programmes across all sectors of the economy, in areas such as international financial services and insurance to technology and the built environment.”

“The new action plan provides a chance to build on the lessons learned from the introduction of new programmes and the experience of the past to deliver a robust and dynamic governance and funding system which will help place apprenticeships at the heart of enterprise and education in this country.”

Apprentices are employed by their sponsoring company and apprenticeship provides a robust educational pathway while giving apprentices the chance to build on workplace skills and experience throughout their programme. In addition to the 55 apprenticeship programmes currently available, a further 23 programmes are in development to be rolled out during 2020 and beyond.

Depending on the programme, apprenticeships take from 2-4 years to complete and currently cover from level 5-9 of the National Framework of Qualifications.

Further information on apprenticeship may be found at www.apprenticeship.ie